The impact of cannabis smoke on the performance of pulmonary surfactant under physiologically relevant conditions

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Dec 20, 2017
  • Author: Michael J. Davies, Jason W. Birkett, Olivia Court, Alicia Mottram, Farbod Zoroaster
  • Journal: Surface and Interface Analysis

The principal site for gaseous exchange within the lung is the alveolar space, which is bathed in a lipid‐protein blend called pulmonary surfactant. This material is the initial contacting site for orally inhaled products and environmental toxins. Using the lung biosimulator, this study investigates the influence of cannabis smoke on the activity of the lung surfactant replacement product, Curosurf. Initially, 50‐mg cannabis material was pyrolysed and the smoke collected. Cannabis smoke profiling was conducted via gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy, with a mean concentration of 1% Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabinol determined. The smoke aliquots were transferred to the lung biosimulator and expansion—contraction cycles were then initiated to mimic tidal breathing. Baseline data confirmed that Curosurf works effectively under physiologically relevant conditions. Exposure to cannabis smoke from 2 independent batches reduced the Langmuir maximum surface pressure values by approximately 20% and increased the compressibility term; interbatch variation was detected. Cannabis smoke impaired the ability of Curosurf to lower the surface tension term. This was ascribed to the penetration of the planar, hydrophobic drug into the two‐dimensional film, and destructive interaction with polar functionalities. The net effect would be increased work of breathing for the individual.

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